The ukulele has gone from strength to strength in recent years, undergoing a massive resurgence. Listen carefully and you can hear the uke, whether in trendy indie rock or top ten pop songs, unshakeable TV ads or YouTube megahits. Schools are even replacing the faithful recorder with the jazzy, inexpensive uke. Famous idlers Gavin Pretor-Pinney and Tom Hodgkinson have spent hours on their ukuleles to produce the ultimate handbook: an illustrated guide to its history crossed with a how-to manual and songbook.
The first half of the book delves into the rich history of this eccentric little instrument, from its birth in Hawaii to its popularity across the world, with a timeline from 1897 to today and a ukulele hall of fame that includes George Formby, Hawaiian legend Israel Kamakawiwo'ole, and YouTube ukulele superstar Jake Shimabukuro.
Then on to the practicalities: the anatomy of the ukulele, which uke to buy, how to play it, how to strum, pick, read chord charts, and tune the strings. The book also includes a songbook, which takes in a wide variety of tunes from the history of the uke and even its prehistory, from medieval and baroque numbers to Hawaiian classics and Tin Pan Alley hits. Beautiful presentation and tab notation make reading the music easy, even for beginners.
With the highest production values, a light touch, and an irresistible instrument at center stage, this book is a must-have for all aspiring ukulelists.